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Minneapolis StarTribune Carbon caps editorial (ME3... )

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  • npat1@juno.com
    Editorial: Carbon caps/Senators bill deserves support Published October 30, 2003ED1030 The Climate Stewardship Act, on which the U.S. Senate may act any day
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7 3:24 AM
      Editorial: Carbon caps/Senators' bill deserves support
      Published October 30, 2003ED1030

      The Climate Stewardship Act, on which the U.S. Senate may act any day
      now, is regarded by most observers to be going nowhere soon. In the
      unlikely event that a majority of senators vote in favor, the House is
      sure to disagree. Even if a miracle occurs in each chamber, the measure
      would likely draw a veto from President Bush.

      But there is merit in voting for this bill, the first piece of
      legislation to give the Senate a chance of declaring its clear support
      for reining in U.S. production of globe-warming carbon dioxide. Limits on
      greenhouse gases continue to gain favor with national
      governments around the world, with state and local governments in this
      country, and
      with some of the largest corporations contributing to the problem. It is
      only a matter of time before a Congress and a president commit the nation
      to such a program. Thus the measure offered by Republican Sen. John
      McCain and Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman presents their colleagues,
      first of all, with a chance to demonstrate vision.

      The bill also offers them a chance to declare agreement with most climate
      scientists -- and a growing majority of the voting public -- that
      whatever uncertainties remain about the planet's warming trend, and how
      the blame ought be apportioned among all the contributing causes, two
      things are clear: Carbon dioxide emissions are the major contributor
      subject to human control, and countermeasures will be more effective if
      undertaken sooner rather than later.

      On that latter point, opponents assert that the McCain-Lieberman goal of
      reducing U.S. emissions to their year 2000 levels by 2012 will have only
      a modest impact on the atmospheric carbon load. This is correct but not
      compelling. The carbon problem has been a long time in the making and,
      yes, it will take a long time to reverse. How does that support delaying
      a first step toward solution?

      Emission caps are not the only important elements of this first-step
      legislation. It would also create a market-based trading program for
      exchanging emission rights, as well as incentives for development of
      cleaner energy technologies. These approaches recognize that American
      businesses can lead the way to solutions, if only Congress can influence
      a system that essentially rewards continued carbon pollution with profits
      and burdens reduction efforts with costs.

      Those costs can be significant for individual companies or economic
      sectors, but they do not support President Bush's contention that carbon
      caps would damage the U.S. economy and promote a massive migration of
      jobs to other countries. A recent MIT study predicts that the
      McCain-Lieberman program would cost less than $20 per household per year
      -- and also suggests that such costs might be outweighed by new growth in
      industries related to emissions cuts. So this bill also offers an
      investment opportunity, one that all senators ought to be willing to
      make. And there may be added incentive for Democrats, at least, in
      casting a vote that separates their record from
      the president's on an issue he is finding to be a political liability.
      Minneapolis StarTribune Carbon caps editorial (ME3... )

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